Chef Saransh Goila's take on lockdown creativity in food

Chef Saransh Goila's take on lockdown creativity in food
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Celebrity chef Saransh Goila, has an interesting digital quarantine initiative going on - he goes live on Instagram every morning with his celebrity friends from various fields - cooking. He does so as he deems it important to spread joy in the community at a time when loneliness is at it's peak during the Coronavirus lockdown in India. His mantra? "Isolated but not alone."

#MorningsWithGoila, features the likes of Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, Chef Ranveer Brar, Pooja Makhija, Mithila Palkar, Prajakta Koli and many more. The chef utilises the power of the internet to bind people together in these difficult times. The videos give us a sneak peek on the guests eating habits, along with teaching us to make some simple breakfast recipes.

Saransh was in London this year, and did a two week pop-up there with Goila Butter Chicken at Carousel, which he said was very well-received.

Excepts from his interview.

What's the idea behind #MorningsWithGoila?

Goila: The idea behind #MorningsWithGoila is to spread joy while we are all under self-isolation and stressed about the future. The idea is to add a positive note in everybody's morning, so that they can actually spend the rest of the day with fun and happy thoughts.

Also to teach amateurs and give them basic tips on how to survive in their kitchen while they are in self-isolation. It presents breakfast tips and shows how others are dealing with this situation - what are they eating, how are they spending their mornings and how they wake up. It is basically a community exercise, an Instagram live daily at 10am. The idea is to get people to cook together and tell them they are not alone while secluded in their homes.

How has the quarantine experience been for you so far?

Goila: Honestly, the quarantine experience has been tough. Yes, I am getting time for myself, I am relaxing and also it is a break in momentum from the fast-paced life that I am usually used to. But, I would say that it is a tough situation to be in, having said that I am channelling as many resources I have. I am trying to be as active in my home as I can be. I am generating a lot of content, I have a schedule and I am not treating this like a holiday. So, I feel like this quarantine is a great time for me to be thoughtful, to reinvent myself, be myself and reshape my thoughts.

Although it can get a little lonely in the home quarantine, people are getting creative, especially with food. How would you encourage people to channel their inner chefs at this time?

Goila: Yes, people are getting creative especially with food. Well, the only way to encourage people is to channel their inner chef in this time as the produce and the pantry will also feature fewer ingredients. But mostly the videos are to tell them that cooking is not tough. It is in fact therapeutic. People should treat it as they would treat music. They should imagine how good music makes them feel and that's how cooking should feel too.

The idea is to tell them that it is easy. You don't have to necessarily know how to cut, chop, and bake. You can use a lot of quick tips and tricks from YouTube, my channel or from any other Chef's feed as well, on how to preserve things or how to save time and energy while you are in the kitchen. Quick fixes, quick recipes, lots of eggs, pulses and basic ingredients can be made into fun things. I am doing #MorningsWithGoila of course to encourage people to channel their inner chefs and I would tell them not to make same things every day, because that also depicts monotony in your life.

The idea is to keep your life exciting so you could take the same ingredients but create new dishes every morning. I am also sharing a lot of recipes on my IGTV while in home quarantine.

Cooking is a survival skill, but also a very good way of keeping yourself and others happy?

Goila: Cooking is a survival skill. Everybody should know that cooking is as important as swimming or driving and I think. It is definitely one of those art forms that does not keep only you happy but keep people around you happy. You can control what you are cooking, how much you are cooking a certain dish - what ingredients are you adding in it, do you like more salt or pepper or do you want less of it.

Everything is in your control when you are cooking yourself in the kitchen. I think it is a beautiful way of meditating, of keeping yourself healthy and ensuring that you are eating all vitamins, minerals, carbs, proteins, good fats and to make sure all of that is a part of your diet. I think a lot of people need to cook to survive but a lot of people should cook to be happy and to meditate.

What are some of the recipes people must cook during a quarantine if supplies are available?

Goila: A lot of people can make use of Dal's in different ways - Tikki's out of Dal, make a salad or Khichdi out of Dal. The idea is to use one ingredient and make different things around it. Like the same Poha that we are used to eating for breakfast, you can also make a Poha Pulao or a Poha Biryani, you can also use the Poha to give your tikki a crust. So start imagining an ingredient from different angles and I think that is what will help you to make a good breakfast.

About your upcoming projects.

Goila: A lot of my jobs involves travel so right now those projects are on hold. 'Sadak Chef' is something that I have been closing working on and the idea is to make Sadak Chef into a dual show and document street food artists of India, bringing them into the limelight and to preserve their recipes and help them proposer. That is something I am closing working on and also focusing on expanding Goila Butter Chicken across all parts of India and the globe.

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